State type
Type of government
Transparency and Social Control
Administrative Division

National Level

Gobierno Central

Intermediate/Regional Level

Regiones 4

Provincias 24

Local Level

Cantones 221

Official names of subnational and local governments

Gobiernos Autónomos Descentralizados

Los gobiernos autónomos descentralizados gozarán de autonomía política, administrativa y financiera, y se regirán por los principios de solidaridad, subsidiariedad, equidad interterritorial, integración y participación ciudadana. En ningún caso el ejercicio de la autonomía permitirá la sec...

Art. 238.

Los gobiernos autónomos descentralizados de las regiones, distritos metropolitanos, provincias y cantones tendrán facultades legislativas en el ámbito de sus competencias y jurisdicciones territoriales. Las juntas parroquiales rurales tendrán facultades reglamentarias. Todos los gobiernos autónomos...

Art. 240.


National Urban Policy

  • The National Urban Policy (PUN) is guided by a long-term vision anchored in constitutional principles and rights, the commitments adopted by Ecuador in the 2030 Agenda and the NAU, and the guidelines of the new generation of national urban policies. This vision consists of: "Guarantee the right to a safe and healthy habitat, the right to adequate housing and the right to the city, through comprehensive, coordinated and participatory actions, which contribute to the construction of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and communities."
    In addition to the action alternatives proposed as lines of intervention, the PUN approach incorporates a set of guiding principles, cross-cutting axes and strategic guidelines conceived as mainstreaming mechanisms.

    National urban policy type:
    Policy temporality:
  • Ecuador is a unitary country that has 4 decentralized autonomous governments (GAD) at the regional, provincial, municipal and parish levels, which are constitutionally recognized with financial, political, and administrative autonomy.
    Starting in 2008, a series of important reforms were carried out in the country for decentralization and the functioning of the different subnational levels of government. 

    Municipal governments are the main actors for the application of local taxes, with a variety of taxes that apply to property and real estate and the contribution of general and specific improvements

    The municipalities also have a transfer system, which represents the main source of income for most municipalities, made up of transfers from: i) permanent and non-permanent income, ii) to finance new responsibilities and iii) to compensate the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources. 

    Additionally, local governments have access to external income: such as the constitutionally recognized, decentralized cooperation to finance functions, public indebtedness, public-private contracts, and foreign investment.

  • In Ecuador, the legal system formed by the Constitution of the Republic (2008) establishes a system where the responsibilities of the Ecuadorian State are shared, including actions related to territorial planning, which is made mandatory. Activities are redistributed among the different administrative political entities of the country: central government, regions, provinces, cantons, and parishes.